India set to pay for Iranian oil using rupees from November

22 Septembre, 2018, 18:38 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

The official said Iran is open to accepting rupee payment for oil and may use the money to pay for equipment and food items it buys from India.

As petroleum-related sanctions on Iran come into effect from November 4, Indian refiners will pay for oil in Indian currency using UCO Bank and IDBI Bank, according to a report by The Economic Times.

Tens of millions of India's citizens are Shiite Muslims.

Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump announced new sanctions against the country after the withdrawal of an worldwide nuclear deal with Iran.

India is in touch with both Iran and the United States on the complex issue. India has increased oil purchases from Iran to almost pre-2012 levels after sanctions were lifted, and in May 2016 India agreed to transfer to Iran about $6.5 billion that it owed for Iranian oil shipments but which was held up for payment due to sanctions, it said.

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"Chabahar is a very important project for us, not only for access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, but also for Afghanistan itself", he said, adding that the development of the port figured in the high-level talks between India and the United States in New Delhi earlier this month.

Work was slowed by the difficulty equipment suppliers had in obtaining financing for the project, a effect of hesitancy among banks about whether the U.S. might still try to sanction the project.

Earlier, India was looking at the possibility of falling back on the rupee-rial arrangement for importing oil from Iran in the wake of USA sanctions. India has been working through diplomatic channels to look at the U.S.to grant exceptions from the upcoming sanctions. The countries' diplomats say they fear the play will backfire, allowing Iran to blame an outside entity for the country's issues. UCO Bank has handled similar transactions in the past, hence it will be the preferred bank. New Delhi has said that technical configuration of many refiners makes it dependent on Iran. According to data from Reuters, India is set to take 360,000-370,000 b/d of Iranian oil on average in September and October, compared with 658,000 b/d during April-August.

Iranian oil exports have dropped ahead of sanctions as several countries have begun to curtail their purchase from the Middle-East producer.

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